The mission of the Georgia School Boards Association is to ensure excellence in the governance of local school systems by providing leadership, advocacy and services, and by representing the collective resolve of Georgia’s elected boards of education.


Mentor Program

Mentors can assist in “learning the ropes” of board governance for new board members

Through GSBA, new board members are assigned a mentor who will:

  • Provide counsel
  • Be a valuable resource
  • Help keep them on the right path to good boardmanship

The mentor gives advice about school board roles and responsibilities based on best practices. The mentor does not offer legal counsel or advice on how to vote. New board members can reach out to their mentor anytime via phone, text or email. They will also receive a monthly newsletter on relevant and timely topics related to board service.

GSBA Mentor

Trudy Sowar

Trudy Sowar has more than 30 years experience with Georgia public schools.

Ms. Sowar is the former Georgia School Boards Association Director of Risk Management Services and Director of Superintendent Search Services, beginning her tenure at GSBA in January 2008 until July 2017. Prior to arriving at GSBA, Ms. Sower retired as an educator in December 2007, after eight years as Superintendent of the Paulding County School District.

She began her career in education as a paraprofessional. Since that time, she has served as a teacher, principal, operations supervisor, executive assistant with curriculum and instruction, executive director of middle schools, and executive assistant to the Superintendent.

In 1996 Ms. Sowar joined the Paulding County School District as Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and was appointed Superintendent in 2000.  She was named the first-ever Outstanding Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia PTA.

Ms. Sowar has served as President of the Georgia School Superintendents’ Association.  She was on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders and served on the Governing Board of the American Association of School Administrators.

In 2006, Ms. Sowar was presented with the Bill Barr Leadership Award, named in honor of Dr. Bill Barr, the first executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents’ Association.  The award is designed to honor exceptional superintendents who possess the unique ability to mentor, to teach and to lead others in their pursuit of excellence in public education.

Ms. Sowar currently serves on the Carroll County EMC Foundation Board where she is in her third year as chair.

Contact Us About GSBA Mentor Services

New Board Member Training Requirements

As required by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), newly elected members of local boards of education shall participate, as a minimum, in 15 hours of training within one year of taking office. Newly elected members may participate in such training for new board members after being elected as a member and before being sworn into the post. These requirements include: New Board Member Training Requirements


New Board Member Required Training – 9 hours
Five hours of this requirement must be training provided by the Finance and Budget Office of the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE).

Local District Orientation – 3 hours
One hour must be on district finances.

Whole Board Governance Training –3 hours
Three hours of annual Whole Board Governance Training (includes Superintendent)

Total Training  – 15 hours